Joint property owners, other than married couples or civil partners, are taxed on their beneficial interest in any property.

A person who holds legal title to property may not always have a beneficial interest in the property, for example, in the case of a trust. The trustees will hold legal title on behalf of the beneficiaries who may have different beneficial interests in the trust property. 

Married couples and civil partners are taxed by default 50:50 on income from property held in joint names regardless of their beneficial interests, although there are some specific rules for certain assets.

  • If they hold unequal beneficial interests in a jointly-held property they are required to make an election if they wish to be taxed on the share of income to which they are beneficially entitled.
  • There are some limited exceptions to these rules where no election is required if there is evidence of a different balance in beneficial ownership. 

In Scotland, Scottish property law does not distinguish between legal title and beneficial ownership. 

Useful guides on this topic

Joint property: Legal v beneficial ownership 
This guide outlining the key differences between legal and beneficial ownership with examples and recent tax cases.

Joint property elections
This article explains the tax treatment of jointly-held property for married couples and civil partnerships.

External links

Complete this to make a joint property election: Form 17 - 'Declaration of beneficial interests in joint property and income'

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